Practice modality of motor sequences impacts the neural signature of motor imagery

  • Motor imagery is conceptualized as an internal simulation that uses motor-related parts of the brain as its substrate. Many studies have investigated this sharing of common neural resources between the two modalities of motor imagery and motor execution. They have shown overlapping but not identical activation patterns that thereby result in a modality-specific neural signature. However, it is not clear how far this neural signature depends on whether the imagined action has previously been practiced physically or only imagined. The present study aims to disentangle whether the neural imprint of an imagined manual pointing sequence within cortical and subcortical motor areas is determined by the nature of this prior practice modality. Each participant practiced two sequences physically, practiced two other sequences mentally, and did a behavioural pre-test without any further practice on a third pair of sequences. After a two-week practice intervention, participants underwent fMRI scans while imagining all six sequences. Behavioural data demonstrated practice-related effects as well as very good compliance with instructions. Functional MRI data confirmed the previously known motor imagery network. Crucially, we found that mental and physical practice left a modality-specific footprint during mental motor imagery. In particular, activation within the right posterior cerebellum was stronger when the imagined sequence had previously been practiced physically. We conclude that cerebellar activity is shaped specifically by the nature of the prior practice modality.
Author:Britta KrügerGND, Meike HettwerORCiD, Adam ZabickiORCiDGND, Benjamin de HaasORCiDGND, Jörn MunzertORCiDGND, Karen ZentgrafGND
Parent Title (English):Scientific reports
Publisher:Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature
Place of publication:[London]
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2020/11/05
Date of first Publication:2020/11/05
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/11/18
Tag:Cerebellum; Human behaviour; Motor cortex; Premotor cortex
Article Number:19176
Page Number:13
First Page:1
Last Page:13
DFG Project No. 222641018 SFB/TRR 135, TP A8 and ERC Starting Grant INDIVISUAL (852882) supported BdH.
Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL.
Institut: Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0